In Britain, just 3% of all our public sculptures are of named women, (as distinct from female allegorical figures, representing seasons, continents etc), and so far as I have seen, absolutely none are of out lesbians. As well as having taught lesbian history in the 1990’s, I am also a professional sculptor, working in both clay and patinated foundry bronze, and so I have designed a sculpture of Anne Lister, Britain’s first out lesbian, weaving into the sculpture many aspects of Anne Listers life which I know in great depth, having lived in Halifax and taught others about her life.
Claire Slattery of Calderdale Council has turned down my offer of a free, or nearly free, sculpture of Anne Lister for Shibden Hall, thinking that they have no need of one to increase visitor numbers to Shibden Hall, as the TV drama Gentleman Jack will take care of this. She has, of course, missed the main points of the need for this sculpture being that, firstly, Anne Lister has never been celebrated or commemorated by the town of Halifax, (even her tombstone is missing her name and is not placed where her body is, which shows a shocking lack of respect by Halifax), and secondly, that as Britain’s first out lesbian in the modern sense of the word, she should, naturally, be the subject of Britain’s first public sculpture of an out lesbian from history, who was a ground breaker for her times. I have a list as long as my arm of other lesbians from history I would like to create a public statue of, but to my mind, Anne Lister should be the first, as she was in so much else.
As the Arts Council are very positive about my project, all that really stands in the way of this public sculpture being realised is Calderdale Council, and most especially Claire Slattery, hence my petition. If your members could sign and share the petition that would be awesome, as it is currently going up at a snails pace! If they could also say why this matters, (and this can be done anonymously if women wish), this would be really superb, as it is individual thoughts on why this matters which will probably swing it. Clearly Claire Slattery has no comprehension of how it feels to have your own kind written out of history and out of public life, nationally, as well. All I can say is it’s a good thing I’ve been a feminist campaigner since the early 1980’s and I don’t give up that easily!
Ama Menec – Sculpture, Coombe Park Craft Studios
Ceramic and Bronze Feminist and Wildlife Sculptures
Gentleman Jack – A Love Story
Gentleman Jack is an upcoming British-American historical drama series created by Sally Wainwright. Set in 1832 and starring Suranne Jones as noted landowner and industrialist Anne Lister, the series will premiere on BBC One in the United Kingdom and HBO in the United States.
This new drama is currently filming at Shibden Hall, Halifax. Sally Wainwright, creator of Last Tango In Halifax and Happy Valley, is the driving force behind the drama. The series is due to air in 2019.
Anne Lister – Gentleman Jack, who dressed head-to-foot in black, charmed her way into Victorian high society. The series centres on the time when she returned to England to save her ancestral home Shibden Hall.
It is also a love story. On Easter Sunday of 1834 she and her lover Ann Walker took communion together at Holy Trinity Church in Goodramgate, which they considered a marriage ceremony.
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